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Think Happy: The Optimism Doctor’s Tools for Unlocking Your Best Life

Don’t be fooled by Dr. Deepika Chopra’s moniker of choice—this Optimism Doctor wants you to rethink the glass half-full mentality. With a doctorate in clinical psychology, Deepika fuses the worlds of science and wellness, helping clients unlock a way of thinking that empowers change through what she calls evidence-based manifestation. If her poignant in-person workshops or daily tools aimed at cultivating positivity (like an optimism card deck you can use at home) show us anything, it’s that a simple shift in mindset can have life-altering impacts. We sat down with Deepika to learn more about her holistic approach to manifestation, how motherhood has reshaped her outlook, and what happens once we learn to focus on the good.

Rip & Tan: With a doctorate in clinical psychology, you bring distinct scientific understandings to the realm of wellness to create evidence-based manifestation. How does evidence-based manifestation differ from other forms of manifestation that populate the wellness world?
Deepika Chopra: When I’m speaking to large audiences, I always ask the room, “Who wants to win the lottery?” Everybody raises their hand. Then I follow up and ask, “Who bought a lottery ticket this morning?” Again, not surprisingly, no one’s hand goes up. If you don’t believe that you can actually win the lottery, your brain won’t put forth the effort into taking action and actually doing something like buying a lottery ticket, even if you so badly want to win the lottery. This is the key to evidence-based manifestation—we don’t always get what we want, but we almost always get what we expect. Your expectations need to match your wants.

We’re in an interesting time where people are fed the idea that you just have to make a vision board or hold a crystal and things will materialize—I believe in a much more multifaceted process that blends the spiritual, magical, and evidence-based science. I find so much power in the work that individuals do, rather than what the universe does. I am not discounting the universe by any means, I just find the self work, the self-fulfilling prophecies, the intricacies of the human brain, the courage it takes to make real change to form new thoughts, and the hard work it takes to really take action way more interesting (and lasting).
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Rip & Tan: Optimism is a term we’re all familiar with, but there are varied degrees of definition that can oftentimes lead to misconceptions. What makes someone an optimist?
Deepika Chopra: A lot of times people think optimism is all about viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses, and that being optimistic means you have to be devoid of reality.

I actually believe that we all are optimists and pessimists throughout our life. We fall somewhere on the optimism continuum depending on our own journey. From my standpoint, an optimist is not someone who is smiley and positive 24/7—that type of person doesn’t actually exist. We experience the full range of emotions as human beings, and it really comes down to how we navigate our way in and out of these emotions.

An optimistic person is not someone who is devoid of reality or is ignorantly blissful; an optimistic person is mindfully aware of setbacks, but they view them as temporary and within their power to overcome.
Rip & Tan: What led you to create your brand Things Are Looking Up?
Deepika Chopra: I stopped practicing traditionally a handful of years ago, one of the reasons being that I wanted to focus more on teaching self-mastery skills. Increasing one’s own ability to cultivate more happiness is a human right, and I wanted to create a way for people to practice and ritualize the skills on their own—that’s where Things Are Looking Up comes into play.
Rip & Tan: Tell us about the deck of cards from Things Are Looking Up. How does it empower daily movements of optimism?
Deepika Chopra: The Things Are Looking Up, Optimism On Deck is the first product we released. It is a deck of 52 cards and each one has a holistic or science-based prompt or suggestion that actually inspires optimism, happiness, resiliency, and creativity. It is not a set of affirmation cards, each card actually prompts you to take an action that has a science-based reasoning to increase joy!
Rip & Tan: What does optimistic thinking mean within the lens of motherhood? How has your understanding of manifestation and optimism shifted since becoming a mother?
Deepika Chopra: Pretty much everything has shifted since becoming a mother! When I was pregnant, I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (less than 2% of pregnant women get this and it’s basically very severe, all-day morning sickness) and I couldn’t find a shred of optimism until about 7 or so months in. It was humbling and challenged me beyond belief, but it made me a better human and an even better Optimism Doctor.

Since having my son, Jag, I’ve been focusing a large portion of my practice on researching and teaching self-mastery tools that help parents raise more optimistic children—it’s the next step in this life-long journey!
Rip & Tan: What’s one message you hope to pass down Jag?
Deepika Chopra: That when things are tough, you can’t shy away from hard work. I also hope that Jag will always be able to find at least one uplifting or positive attribute to any and all situations, good or bad!
Rip & Tan: What does living well mean to you?
Deepika Chopra: Living well to me means being mindful of my greater purpose and deeper values and living every day from that perspective.
Rip & Tan: There’s no denying the power of positive thinking to facilitate change. What do you suggest for people looking to bring more optimism into their lives?
Deepika Chopra: From an evolutionary perspective, we are actually more prone to being pessimistic. Raising our optimism point really takes work—it’s like a muscle.

1. Spend more time in nature.

2. Get quality, uninterrupted sleep every night.

3. Listen to music that makes you happy and move to it. Try and create a time in your day to just be free and dance, even if it is for 30 seconds.

4. Surround yourself with happy people— happiness is actually contagious!

5. Try and find the upside in less than ideal situations. If it doesn’t seem plausible, view it as a challenging game. You can allow yourself to be bummed out or upset when something doesn’t go your way, but challenge yourself to find at least one thing that maybe could contribute to your growth, no matter how small.

6. Practice self-gratitude: we are all so familiar with the idea of gratitude, but we are notoriously bad about putting ourselves on our own gratitude list. Allow for some time every day to thank yourself for something you have done and that you are proud of. There is really no point in working towards manifesting things if you don’t reward yourself with positive admiration and recognize the work you put in to get there.

7. Practice acts of kindness. This is a gift that keeps giving, the more you give to others, even with a small gesture like holding the door open for someone or smiling at a stranger, the more positivity there is out in the world.
Photos by Nicki Sebastian